FaithSite - Brent High - Is Music Really Dirty?

Because of some expertise in the history of Music I have been asked to review Brent High's article: Is Music Really Dirty? This review is in response to questions from an ex-member of a congregation which has been legally run over by those hurrying to add musical worship teams and instrumental music. This, too, seems to flow out of the Nashville scene.

The article by Brent High being reviewed may be read at FaithSite: brent We will give some of our answers. We understand that the article is not suggesting instrumental music in the worship of the church. Therefore, we want to make clarification for those who asked for the review.

We are usually blackballed from the "forums" but thank God that He sent me the Internet. This is not a discussion of listening to so-called "Christian" music and "falling into a worship mode." Rather, it is about defining this music as "Christian" or "Christian Instrumental" and implying that the Psalms give authority for instrumental music. Our base is that the Bible is inspired and is normative for faith and practice. We don't remotely presume to control what others will do; our goal is to determine what the Bible and history says about music. Others will do what they want to do because the Bible base has been blown away by other winds of doctrine.

We might note in connection with the word Christian that most of our churches "pour out the water of the word" free of charge. The TV audience or the unbeliever is never, can never, be charged for the Christian gospel. I don't know of any of our ministers offering "free books" or "free CDs" and suggesting that you might want to make a donation of 50, 500 or even 5,000 dollars!

The title is very provocative! Of course music isn't any dirtier than steak, ice cream, jogging, playing ping pong or any activity devoted to the external, human senses or even sex. We understand that music is a personal taste but this does not defend instrumental music in worship. However, because the article creates questions in reader's minds we will respond with what we believe to be objective truth.

We present these notes on the web because they are too extensive for the forum. My comments are in blue. Further comments welcomed.

Brent High: Last night I had the privilege of attending Amy Grant's 7th Annual Tennessee Christmas concert at the Nashville Arena. The highlight of the night for me was getting to hear Michael W. Smith sing and play the piano. He is my absolute favorite music artist. The passion he has for his music is extremely evident. As he played "Freedom", a song from his brand new instrumental album, goose bumps shot up all over me.

Brent, I beleive that all history and medical science will inform you that this is a result of a direct production of endorphins, a morphine-like drug. Furthermore, it is highly addictive and has the power of removing your ability to hear God through simply reading His Word. We will note below the connection between external "melody" in the Greek, grinding you into powder or the SOP Jesus hand fed to Judas.

The king of Tyre was an agent of Lucifer and music was the fundamental weapon of stripping people of their wealth with music. The story of Wen Amun, the Egyptian Cedar buyer, is a real-life, ancient account of this area. Tyre, like Judah, would return from a 70-year punishment for not standing on the watchtowers and not being able to hear the "strange tongues," the hoof beats and the trumpets of the enemy. The "song of the prostitute" was:

"Take an harp, go about the city, thou harlot that hast been forgotten; make sweet melody, sing many songs, that thou mayest be remembered. Isaiah 23:16

Melody in Hebrew is: Zimrah (h2172) zim-raw'; from 2167; a musical piece or song to be accompanied by an instrument: - melody, psalm.

Zamar (h2168) zaw-mar'; a prim. root [comp. 2167, 5568, 6785]; to trim (a vine): - prune.

Melody works because it makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck and arms and makes a cold chill run up and down your spine. Don't believe it when the people tell you that you have been professionally moved into the presence of God: You are in contact with the wrong "spirit."

Camar (h5568) saw-mar'; a prim. root; to be erect, i. e. bristle as hair: - stand up, tremble.

Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up: Jb.4:15

My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments. Ps.119:120

Brent High: Music is a big part of who I am. As I write this article, Garth Brooks "No Fences" tape is playing in the background. I work at home so the radio is always on during the day. The radio is always on in my truck. My CD collection is immense. If BMG and Columbia House gave an award for the most "11 for the price of 1" orders processed, I would win in a landslide. I even volunteered to do the public address announcing at Hendersonville basketball games so I could play the music.

That is fine but remember that what appeals to our own senses may be great at TV and Popcorn time, or Steak After Church time, but may have no role to play "in worship" or "in church." Anything which discourages the personal, in spirit (in mind) thinking about the Word and speaking or meditating about the Lord guarantees that "worship" is not possible. Remember that the only person who MIGHT have worshiped in Corinth would, according to the definition of the word worship: "fall on his face like a dog fawning at his master's feet" -- if everyone had spoken the Word. But this was not possible when everyone wanted to perform their own songs, sermons and prayers (from their own spirit) while none of them had the inspiration Paul demanded.

Brent High: I guess the influence of music on my life began when Mom and Dad signed me up for Suzuki violin lessons in kindergarten. Since then my appreciation for music and the impact it can have has increased greatly. My music collection contains everything from R&B to country, classical, and bluegrass. Only recently have I discovered the quality and power of Christian instrumental music. The music of Michael W. Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman, Big Tent Revival, Caedmon's Call, and Christian radio fills a large percentage of my listening time.

A "Christian" faith or practice is "a religion based on His teaching." A Christian may make music music but it cannot be "Christian Music" because it has no biblical foundation. On the contrary, the comments of Jesus about music is totally negative. The term "Christian instrumental music" may really be an insult to our Lord. Anything a believer has to buy is not "Christian."

Caedmon was the first Old English Christian poet. He was an illiterate herdsman and could not comply with the demand that each hired hand sing a song. In a dream Cademon heard a song. The abbess St. Hilda claimed that Caedmon was divinely inspired and gave him a test of turning the Biblical text into songs or poetry. It is not uncommon for musicians to claim direct inspiration and have people believe what they are told.

Brent High: I am always encouraged when I listen to Christian music.

My thoughts seem to be purified. I feel like I'm closer to God.

This is a natural feeling from some forms of music. Simply by putting the self through the mental loops of music people have understood ther feelings to be purification. This also gave those in Corinth the belief that their expressions were prophecy. While this feeling is not evil, it is not part of Christian worship. Layard on Discoveries in Nineveh proves that this is one of the most basic feelings. Not evil, but not worship.

And Peter told us the only way to be purified:

Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 1Pe 1:22

Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. 1Pe 1:23

For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: 1Pe 1:24

But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. 1Pe 1:25

WHEREFORE laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 1Pe 2:1

As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: 1Pe 2:2

Remember that the task of "musical worship teams" is to "lead the worshiper into the presence of god." Well, God isn't lost and Paul told the Athenians that "he is not far from all of us." And THE Holy Spirit (John 14:14-16) Jesus is always with us.

The Bacchae by Euripides well informs us of the worship with musical rites for purification.

Speaking of revivals in the ancient and modern sense, Nilsson points out that music works because it claims to lead people into the presence of God. This is as old as the Tower of Babylon and as fresh as some of the "falling, jerking, running, and barking" exercises seen on "Christian" TV this week. However,

"In reality it was an epidemic of psychopathic religiosity which seized upon mankind, similar to that with which we are familiar in our modern faith healers and speakers with tongues, and in the sorcerers of the nature peoples. It may not only serve as prophecy and purification, but may also minister to the dormant longing which exists in every man, however humble his station, to enter into communion with the divine, to feel himself lifted up from the temporal into the spiritual. This form of ecstasy found its herald in the god who, with Apollo, impressed himself most strongly upon the religious feeling of the age--Dionysus.

"Not every man can be a miracle worker and a seer, but most are susceptible to ecstasy, especially as members of a great crowd, which draws the individual along with it and generates in him the sense of being filled with a higher divine power." (Martin, P. Nilsson, History of Greek Religion, p. 205).

Joseph Campbell reminds us that one of the earliest and continuing superstitions is that a vibrating string or drums reconnect one to the primal descent from heaven:

"The sounding tones of these seven, moreover, made a music, the 'music of the spheres,' to which the notes of our diatonic scale correspond... And the soul descending from heaven to be born on earth picked up, as it came down, the qualities of these (spheres) so that our souls and bodies are compounds of the very elements of the universe and sing, so to say, the same song." (Campbell, p. 2).

"Music and the arts, according to this early view, were to put us in mind of those harmonies, from which the general thoughts and affairs of this earth distract us. And in the Middle ages the seven branches of learning were accordingly associated with those spheres: grammar, logic, rhetoric, arithmetic, music, geometry, and astronomy." (Campbell, Joseph, Myths to Live By, p. 3).

Brent High: Sometimes, and I'm sure I'll probably hear about this one, I feel like I'm actually praising God when I sing along. Some of my favorite CDs are from the WOW Worship series, which includes instrumental music.

Jesus denounced the "wow" worship at the temple and marginally approved the Synagogue which "had no praise service." The reading of history exposes us to some views of the Feast of Tabernacles at the time of Jesus. This explains why Jesus did not go up at once because the "musical praise" was historically connected with pronoucing the doom (burden) against someone.

Jesus excluded worship from time and place -- Gerizim or Jerusalem. He confined "worship" to "in spirit and in truth." That is "in the mind" and "devoted to the Words of Christ." (Ephesians, Colossians "music" passages). He directed "alms" from my hand to the hand of the poor, prescribed prayer "in the closet" and harshly condemned any kind of "for show" prayers in the synagogue. Hymning was really praying. There was no praise service in the synagogue and therefore "church" or the assembly was more school than "temple." Jesus did compare the Jews to musical children just playing games.

The "one another" or "to yourselves" speaking was very early recognized as "internal" singing. After all, Paul did not say "singing to one another" but "preaching or teaching" one to another. Therefore, you are right to see this as personal praise -- as was David's. However, David was not the Jewish worship leader but the king.

Brent High: Growing up in the Church of Christ, instrumental Christian music seemed to be on an equal level with premarital sex. It was something dirty. It was something to be avoided. What a shame!

Brent, I don't know how old you are but I have not heard a credible sermon against instruments either in Seattle, Murfreesboro or Hohenwald for about 30 years. In my 58 years as a believer I have never heard a sermon which evidenced any knowledge about the Old and New Testament and certainly no "pop" books give evidence of having been close to the Bible. However, those pro music sermons growing out of churches of Christ, major in misquoting both Scripture and the historical scholars. And certainly that can be dirty. From personal knowledge and understanding history, when there is a pulpit-attempt to introduce praise teams and instruments one can find a Disciples or Christian Church influence purposely working its way into control and the confiscating of church property.

No wonder that this lack of teaching is being filled by those favorably disposed (if not yet courageous enough to introduce) instruments. ALL of the harshly judgmental material I have read has seen those who will not physically "fellowship" instrumental churches as racists, fratricidal or just plain evil. By simply continuing what has been recognized as Biblical for 2,000 years, and that which was practiced by Baptists, Methodists and Presbyterians who formed the Restoration Movement, non-musical churches are defined as "sectarian." This assuredly can be claimed only among a people wind-swept dry of any Biblical and historical knowledge of music.

Nothing in Biblical or Historical Literature Endorses Music as Worship, in or out of assembly.

If music was a suitable device for "ascending" or "descending" to God as worship I am astounded that He didn't make that clear. On the other side we can find many Biblical passages which associate music with evil and even with Satan. In both Hebrew and Greek the word for "musical instrument" and "weapon of warfare" are the same.

I have never heard or read anything from the ancient Babylonians, the Old Testament, the Classical writers, the church "fathers," the Reformers or the Restorers which remotely equated instrumental music to premarital sex. Nor have I read much evidence older than the 19th century which makes any attempt to justify music.

David Lipscomb wrote as late as 1878 that:

We do not think anyone has ever claimed authority from Scriptures to use the organ in worship. They only claim it is not condemned. It is used as an assister in worship...Prayer, praise, thanksgiving and making melody in the heart (mind) unto the Lord are acts of worship ordained of God, but no authority do we find for the organ.

The world's literature, however, almost universally associates instrumental worship devices with ancient and modern paganism where "dissociation" is required to get the "collection plate" filled. This often terminated with a session with the musical prophetess in the back room. Isaiah 5, Ezekiel 33, Job 21 and Amos 5, 6 and 8 connect music with dedication to ignoring the Word of God.

I have some fairly closs testimony about so-called "Christian" performers. I don't pass judgment but it seems dangerous to hold up these people before the young people as examples as opposed to the Lord Jesus. That would include both Amy Grant and Garth Brooks. They are secular singers and not God-like role models of either conduct or revelation.

In my lifetime I have never heard that instrumental music should be avoided. In every area I have ever lived music was used at funerals (which are also a pagan residue), some weddings or when the preacher musician and friends get together for a sesson -- that was before TV.

What I have heard as the universal plea -- including the official Catholic literature -- is that there is simply no rationale for "instrumental praise" when the church meets almost exclusively, like the synagogue, for education.

Catholic Encyclopedia on Instrumental Musical Worship
Catholic Encyclopedia Instrumental Music in Worship
Catholic Encyclopedia Singing
Catholic Encyclopedia Congregational Singing
Catholic Encyclopedia Ecclesiastical Music No Instruments for the Pope
Catholic Encyclopedia The Mass - Restoration of Levitical Music
Musical Minister - Catholic Precentor - First Heresy

Perhaps those old "legalistic" preachers understood that music was introduced into the temple-state worship only after Israel fired God and demanded a king like the nations so that they could worship like the nations. However, before lifting functions limited to the tribe of Levi, at or around Jerusalem and in connection with sacrificing animals:

"It is important to bear in mind that all music of the temple, regardless of the period, was nothing but an accessory to its sacrificial ritual. Without sacrifice the music loses its raison d'etre. What was the inherent connection between the sacrifice and its accompaning music? This is still an unsolved puzzle. It is possible to compare a banquet for honored guests whereby quantities of burned meant, incense, and music were offered, to a sacred meal for a still anthropomorphically conceived deity, whose prestige demanded sacrifice, incense, praise, as well as musical entertainment. Whatever the original function of sacrificial music, it was forbidden immediately after the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70. Nor do we have all the details of the temple's musical practice.... There is ample reason to believe that the Levites refused to divulge their 'trade secrets' and took them to their graves." (International Dictionary of the Bible, p. 459, Abingdon).

What this quotation proves is that there was no "Biblical" rationale in the form of a command from God. There simply is no role for music in "school" as it would have been in the world's temples.

Both of us can do web pages without much thinking just as you can sing "church" songs without thinking after about five times. However, you could never learn to do a double-click the first time with music in the background. "Church" should involve teaching something new every week and "teams" and "tools" can have no productive part in that.

What we can say is that instruments are to be avoided during that short assembly where there is no command, example or inference that the "act" is singing. Rather, what Jesus exampled was hymning the Psalms with no tune and no trumpet. What Paul commanded was to "teach" which is the the same word as "preach." The resource was the Biblical text and the goal was to "teach and admonish." Singing and melody was something experienced in the heart because external melody is derived from a word which means "to grind into powder." It is related to the SOP Jesus abraded off to give to Judas.

Music Attracts Seekers because it is a "Drug Dispensing Device."

When you "feel" from the music you are on a drug high. It may be no worse than too much coffee, but it is not "spiritual" or something a performance preacher or singer is permitted to "induce" into you as so-called worship.

Brent High: Some of the most meaningful times in my life have included instrumental music with a religious message. FCA camps, funerals, music concerts, and weddings (mine included) are great examples of special times I've experienced that were directly connected with instrumental Christian music.

I don't believe that anything can be called Christian which was not freely given by Christ.

Eph. 4:20 But ye have not so learned Christ;
Eph. 4:21 If so be that ye have heard him,
        and have been taught BY him,
        as the truth is in Jesus

Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Matthew 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Eph. 4:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man,
        which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
Phtheirō 3.  corrupt, bribe, tina D.S.4.73; lure, entice, trap,kēmoisi plektois porphuras phtheirei genosS.Fr.504 (s. v. l.); “phtheirei gar pronoia tēn aboulianentices to its ruin, entraps
b.  seduce a woman, “hupo tēs thugatros adikoumenon kai Dionusiou tou phtheirantos autēn kinaidou” (Dog, Cynic, Catamite) “pharmakōn
II b. with a Prep., phtheiresthai pros tous plousious, of hangers-on and flatterers, D.21.139, cf. Plu.Phoc.21, Eum. 14, Ant.24; “eis hēdonas apo . . ponōn
CORRUPT is Listening to a female Lyre Player
akouō se lurōdou gunaikos

You and I both also grew up with everything under God's sun being called "gospel." You know, "gospel singings, gospel tracts, gospel preachers, gospel meetings ad nauseum." Whatever these things are they are not "gospel." I reach the same conclusion (after 70 years) that the same applies to the word "Christian." Believe me, Brent there is no such thing as "instrumental Christian music." Why? Because there was never any instrumental music in the "worship of the people" either under the Law of Moses or the Christian Apostolic era. Jesus repudiated the "piping" of the Jews as they tried to pervert Him into the Dionysus dancing and singing. Another use of instruments was the "lamenting women" who superstitiously believed -- from Babylon onward until the end-time Babylon -- that instruments and singing appeased the ghost of the dead girl to keep them from harm. The meaning of the Greek is that Jesus ejected the women "more or less violently."

Because calling music "Christian" can make as many dollars as Rock these days, people who are terrible role models for our children are applauded because they hypnotize the audience by misappropriating the word "Christian." The tunes and the instruments are from the world and so many of them get by with teaching gross error because of the "drug-inducing" and therefore mind-altering power of instruments and mass hypnosis. For instance, Twila Paris' "Come Share the Lord" is a clear definition of the Catholic Eucharist. Too often people respond: "Well, it just doesn't matter." Well if it doesn't matter then it just doesn't matter. However, our goal is not to decide what is right or wrong for you but what can you safely teach based on the Bible.

I may never worship with a congregation that uses instrumental music and that's okay. I would never be part of a group that tried to introduce instrumental worship in the church of Christ

because of the division it would cause.

I will however take every opportunity to tell others about the quality and power of contemporary Christian music and how its changed my thoughts, attitude, and actions.

Something tells me God would prefer us listening to Michael W. Smith over Metallica any day!

One might hope that with time and teaching which you will never get from sermons or "Bible" classes that you will come to reject music as worship because you know and understand the Biblical message. Because Jesus said that the Word was hidden in parables "from the foundation of the world" it may come as a jolt that the musical theme begins in the garden of Eden. Yes. The very meaning of the "serpent." But if we don't try to understand parables then Jesus has nothing to say to us.

If history has any meaning, neither the introduction of secular hymns (not inspired) nor instruments has ever succeeded without "sowing discord among brethren" and resulting in a diminishing witness in the world. The Catholic Encyclopedia acknowledged that instruments were a weapon of early "seeker" services where one cathedral tried to attract the "trade fairs" to their town and away from the one a few miles away.

Because most people "love" music as you do, why do you suppose people have subjected themselves to so much persecution and foul language to be a minority when music might be more fun and would assuredly attract more people?

Brent, isn't it amazing that God never, never, once said, "I just love that music." Did He ever command it, suggest it, approve it, identify it with having any power over Him? No. Not once. All of the "seven spirits" which would rest on Messiah were connected with His Word. There is no gift of singing or playing instruments given by the Spirit.

Isaiah concludes by stating that Messiah would not respond to the "Lord, Lords" He hears with His ears or the theatrical performance He sees. I believe that He repudiated both when He removed the clergy from His kingdom.

AND there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: Isaiah 11:1

And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; Isaiah 11:2

And shall make him of quick understanding (spiritual) in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: Isaiah 11:3

Brent High: It is good to praise the LORD and make music to your name, O Most High, to proclaim your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night, to the music of the ten-stringed lyre and the melody of the harp. For you make me glad by your deeds, O LORD; I sing for joy at the works of your hands. How great are your works, O LORD, how profound your thoughts!" - Psalm 92:1-5

See Augustine's comments on Psalm 92:

Common Israelites Could Not Approach God Without a Mediator.

A solemn sound is HIGGAOWN and not a "spiritual word." To PRAISE God usually was the word HALAL which means to "make self vile" in an attempt to panic the enemy. The word for Lucifer is directly derived from this PRAISE word.

The Lord is known by the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. Higgaion. Selah. Ps.9:16

The lips of those that rose up against me, and their device against me all the day. Lam.3:62

Now, let's see you sing on a ten-stringed instrument, psaltery and harp: but not in the holy places please. The word sing or ZAMAR can included an instrument. However, it does not get the job done here or anywhere unless that instrument is NAMED.

However, this was not MUSICATING but speaking or reciting with the strum of a string to sustain the SPOKEN word: there is no example of congregational singing with instrumental accompaniment:

"in music, intoned liturgical recitation of scriptural texts, guided by signs originally devised as textual accents, punctuations, and indications of emphasis.. first intended to clarify the reading of the texts

Ritual music was at first only cantillation, i.e., recitative chanting, of the prose books of the Bible

Of the SONGS paul defined:

Ode (g5603) o-day'; from 103; a chant or "ode" the gen. term for any words sung; while 5215 denotes espec. a religious metrical composition, and 5568 [psalmos] still more spec. a Heb. cantillation): - song.

The SONG further defines PSALMOS as in SPEAKING as Paul makes very clear when he commanded SPEAK to one another.

Later the prayers and biblical poetry were chanted, presumably in a modal system similar to the ragas of Hindu music or the maqamat of Arab music, i.e., melodies with improvisations. Jewish Liturgical Music

Cantillation is also used in Islamic religious services in the recitation of the Qur'an and in the muezzin's call to prayer, or adhan.

Neither it nor the cantillation of the Qur'an are considered to be music, however, and music as such is forbidden in religious services. See more Islamic notes AGAINST instruments.

First, David did not lead "congregational singing with instrumental accompaniment." If some of the others of the "like the nations musical guild" wrote the Psalm we should understand that the "enemies" or "strangers" were actually Israelites who sinned musically at Mount Sinai and were never to come into the symbolic presence of God at the Tabernacle or Temple.

And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Numbers 3: 5

Bring the tribe of Levi near, and present them before Aaron the priest, that they may minister unto him. Numbers 3: 6 (Minister to Aaron -- not God).

And they shall keep his charge, and the charge of the whole congregation before the tabernacle of the congregation, to do the service of the tabernacle. Numbers 3: 7

And they shall keep all the instruments of the tabernacle of the congregation, and the charge of the children of Israel, to do the service of the tabernacle. Numbers 3: 8

And thou shalt give the Levites unto Aaron and to his sons: they are wholly given unto him out of the children of Israel. Numbers 3: 9

And thou shalt appoint Aaron and his sons, and they shall wait on their priests office: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death. Numbers 3:10

The Levites got their daily dole of tithed food only when on duty and only at the central sanctuary. They did not minister to the people who were always "outside the gates."

Robert Jamieson comments:

"Numbers 3:5-10. Bring the tribe of Levi near--The Hebrew word "bring near" is a sacrificial term, denoting the presentation of an offering to God; and the use of the word, therefore, in connection with the Levites,

"signifies that they were devoted as an offering to the sanctuary, no longer to be employed in any common offices.

"They were subordinate to the priests, who alone enjoyed the privilege of entering the holy place;

"but they were employed in discharging many of the humbler duties which belonged to the sanctuary, as well as in various offices of great utility and importance to the religion and morals of the people. Commentary by ROBERT JAMIESON

The Catholic Encyclopedia identifies the clergy musicians as "Levitical musicians." Indeed, this is the usual authority for musicians in the church.

Because we are all priests able to come into the presence of God, yea, even boldly, the musical worship team and instrumentalists and bleeding animals CANNOT go in there with us. God's provision is that only He and the priest (we are virtual high priests) can be in the Most Holy place at one time.

Jamieson continues:

"Numbers 18: 2-7. thy brethren also of the tribe of Levi--The departments of the sacred office, to be filled respectively by the priests and Levites, are here assigned to each.

"To the priests was committed the charge of the sanctuary and the altar,

"while the Levites were to take care of everything else about the tabernacle. The Levites were to attend the priests as servants--

bestowed on them as "gifts" to aid in the service of the tabernacle--

while the high and dignified office of the priesthood was a "service of gift."

"A stranger," that is, one, neither a priest nor a Levite, who should intrude into any departments of the sacred office, should incur the penalty of death. ROBERT JAMIESON

Musical "noise" was part of the "sacred office" added by David.

The "congregation" as strangers were never allowed in where the Levites served the priests -- not the congregation and not God. Therefore, where the Levitical singers perform, the individual worshiper is absolutely excluded. The sacrificing "congregation" included the priests, Levites and the "stationary men" who represented the general population.

Edersheim points out that the "stationary men" represented the 'congregation" but that the people were shut out of the sacrificial offering. Performance musicians freely admit that they are in a mediating role to bring the worshipers into the presence of God. However, they are not Levites, there are no human priests to serve as they sacrificed animals, and the Levites could not go "boldly before the throne of God" which was believed to be on the Ark of the Covenant. Edersheim notes:

"First: As the last great gate slowly moved on its hinges, the priests, on a signal given, blew three blasts on their silver trumpets,

summoning the Levites

and the 'representatives' of the people (the so-called 'stationary men') to their duties, and announcing to the city that the morning sacrifice was about to be offered.

"Second: As the president gave the word of command, which marked that 'the time of incense had come,' '

the whole multitude of the people without' withdrew from the inner court,

and fell down before the Lord, spreading their hands * in silent prayer.

"Third, The temple Music was blown and songs sung. This excluded all people not of the tribe of Levi. It also excluded all women.

"Fourth: This closed the morning service. [Note: only representatives of the people were present. The common Jews did not participate in this temple service]

It was immediately followed by the sacrifices and offerings which private Israelites might have to bring, and which would occasionally continue till near the time for the evening service

The sacrificial worship was for the secular Temple-State and not for the congregation of Israel.

Fulfilment in the New Covenant: The animals were burned outside the "worship center."

Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Hebrews 13:12

Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. Hebrews 13:13

For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. Hebrews 13:14

By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to his name. Hebrews 13:15

This is why Jesus excluded worship from time and place and put it "in spirit" and the resources are "in truth." The "singing" passages in both Ephesians and Colossians affirms this: The resource is "spirit" or "Word," The method is "teaching or preaching" and the result is "in the heart" worship directed to God and not to the "audience."

There is plenty of evidence that singing groups (clery) and instruments were added when the sacrificial system was being restored and the unauthorized clergy keeps the people so untaught that they can claim to stand between them and God -- just as the priests and Levites.

David was neither priest or Levitical Worship Leader:

It is obvious that David praised God but it was very often in the hope of the destruction of his personal enemies (if we literalize the whole Psalm)

But my horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of an unicorn: I shall be anointed with fresh oil. Psalm 92:10

Mine eye also shall see my desire on mine enemies, and mine ears shall hear my desire of the wicked that rise up against me. Psalm 92:11

David is not our Teacher because:

Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. Acts 2:29

David's music which was attached only (officially) to animal sacrifices was external and figurative: Christian worship is in spirit and in truth.

Tertullian noted that sacrificial worship is not Christian Worship

"For such is the power of earthly pleasures, that, to retain the opportunity of still partaking of them,

"it contrives to prolong swilling ignorance, and bribes knowledge into playing a dishonest part.

"To both things, perhaps, some among you are allured by the views of the heathens who in this matter are wont to press us with arguments, such as these:

(1) That the exquisite enjoyments of ear and eye we have in things external are not in the least opposed to religion in the mind and conscience; and

(2) That surely no offence is offered to God, in any human enjoyment, by any of our pleasures, which it is not sinful to partake of in its own time and place, with all due honour and reverence secured to Him.

But this is precisely what we are ready to prove: That these things are not consistent with true religion and true obedience to the true God. Tertullian De Spectaculis


Brent, when you get to be 70 you will grasp the ancient, almost universal testimony and modern medical science, that when you get that "high" it is because in some way you have been damaged. Your God-given body comes to the rescue with endorphins (morphine-like) and dulls the pain. It usually has a little left over to give you a lift and addict you back to the activity over and over -- the runner's high, jumping out of airplanes, or listening to music which has been honed to perfection for the most powerful mind-altering effect.

People who use music to "keep from having to worship in a phone booth" know that they are dispensing drugs to seek the seekers. They also should know -- if they are competent scholars -- that their services like Corinth "do more harm than good." And they know that they are shutting down the rational mind so that "membership" will not be informed membership.

We all vizualize the stagecoach when "stagecoach" music is played. We see the galluping horse when galluping music is played. And certain as taxes, we "feel" religious when religious music is played. Why? Because through the ages, human composers have learned how to induce that "spiritual high." It is not spiritual: it is a drug high. And you know what? They giggle about it.

As an old person you will run to the doctor for Paxil or Prozac to help you get through that performance called "worship."

Don't I enjoy any music? Sure. But wise enough to know that even the most "spiritual sounding" music makes me feel good and I know that it is for me and not for God. I am listening to Christmas carols on TBN but I defy you to be able to move your eyes and mind off yourself and the performer and think about anything Jesus ever did or said for more than 5 seconds.

Those succeeding through musical intimidation should not gloat. If I understand the "agents" of lucifer in the Old Testament and Revelation 18, the end times will see the overwhelming majority people pleading for the "mountains" of music to fall on them. The Book of Enoch, quoted by Jude, says that God will come with ten-thousand angels

Chapter 2:1 Behold, he comes with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon them, and destroy the wicked, and reprove all the carnal for everything which the sinful and ungodly have done, and committed against him.

It may come as a surprise that all of the ancient sources point to Satan's intruduction of the power of instrumental music and mixed-sex choirs to seduce the holy people so that they cannot listen to the Word of God. You may want to read some Jude and some Enoch. I have expanded on this here.

Most of your readers may have "moved beyond the Bible" but believe me they will move back to it if they can catch a glimpse of the Mind of Jesus Which is the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 2)

I believe that FaithSite provides the opportunity not only for discussion but for a deeper avenue of study. Because I am not a preacher you are not obligated to accept any of these views. My goal is to fill in the blanks left there by most modern sermonizing which is as unlawful as instrumental or any other kind of performance in "worship."

Ken Sublett

Musical Worship Resources


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